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Immunotherapy injections help treat warts

Skin CareMay 29, 05

Injecting warts directly with any of a number of selected antigenic proteins appears to be a useful way of resolving the problem, researchers report. This form of immunotherapy seems to clear up not only the injected warts but also others not even in the same vicinity.

“Intralesional immunotherapy is a highly effective and safe method for treating any patient with a wart, but particularly for patients with large or numerous warts in any location,” lead investigator Dr. Thomas H. Horn told Reuters Health.

Dr. Horn, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, and colleagues, studied 233 patients who had at least one wart that was injected with skin test antigens for either mumps, Candida or Trichophyton.

The participants were randomly assigned receive one of four treatments: an injection of just the antigen, interferon alone, antigen and interferon, or saline.

Although patients over the age of 40 were less likely to respond, patients in all groups did show a response, the investigators report in the May issue of the Archives of Dermatology. However, patients who responded were significantly more likely to have received antigen.

In all, 54 percent of those given antigen alone responded. So did 58 percent of those given the combination, 26 percent given interferon alone and 22 percent given saline.

In patients with more than one wart, the response rate of warts in other locations was somewhat similar. With antigen alone, it was 41 percent and with the combination, 57 percent; with interferon it was 9 percent, and with saline 19 percent.

“The repeated observation that injection of one wart is associated with clearing of anatomically distinct and distant untreated warts,” concluded Horn, “suggests that intralesional immunotherapy induces immunity directed against the human papillomavirus, the cause of warts.”

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